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Puja – 19, confused, energetic, fiery. Her philosophy – Life is complicated and only super achievers have it figured out. Her strict mother sends her to a rural location in Kerala to spend her summer vacation doing volunteer work.
Arush – 20, studious, careful, shy. Born and raised in Britain, he is elated when he gets an opportunity to spend 12 weeks in India, a place his parents are from and one he has never been to.
When Puja and Arush meet, their stark differences are obvious to each other. But with choppy internet and no other distractions, they start getting to know each other and slowly fall in love. But falling in love and staying in love are not the same thing.
When disaster strikes, Puja is forced to confront the harsh realities of life while Arush realises that India is not always the picture-perfect postcard he presumed it was. Desperately fighting to expose the truth and save themselves, what happens to their love? Is it strong enough to survive forces beyond their control? Is it deep enough to drown their own doubts?
Sometimes you have to travel far to find your true self.
An intensely gripping novel from Preeti Shenoy, about young love and discovery.
From the Publisher
Q & A with Preeti Shenoy, the bestselling author of When Love Came Calling
Preeti Shenoy is the bestselling author of Life is What You Make It and twelve other titles. She is among the highest-selling authors in India. She is also a speaker, columnist, and artist.
We ask Preeti a few questions about her new book, the characters and the art of writing.
Q 1. With all your books, you have experimented with various genres and sub-genres. How was your experience of working on a young-adult/ coming of age story in When Love came Calling?
Preeti: It was really a refreshing experience. For teens and young adults, the immediacy of any situation is magnified ten times more than what it is for adults. I did a lot of research into the teen brain, and understood the behavioral aspect of teens in different scenarios as opposed to adults before writing this book.
I think teens will make great entrepreneurs if they utilize their strengths; they are naturally prone to more risk-taking than adults.
Q 2. Who or what was your inspiration behind creating the characters of Puja and Arush? They are every bit relatable to most readers.
Preeti: My own two children are young adults. They have many friends who are exactly like Puja and Arush. My son has some traits of Arush; I also had a lot of inputs from my daughter. When I was writing this book, she was doing an internship at Singapore. During lunch hour, she would call me and we would discuss the book in detail.
Q 3. This book explores the parent-child relationship deeply. Please tell us your thoughts on this subject.
Preeti: I think most parents have no idea just how much to push their teens. Some parents are very authoritative (like Puja’s mother). They are ‘Tiger moms’. While it works well for some kids, (like Puja’s sister), it doesn’t work well for others. There’s truly no one-size-fits-all when it comes to parenting. The important thing here is to understand your child, and then help them grow up to be good human beings. Parents should develop the ability to accept teens and young adults for who they are, as opposed to who they want their children to be. I think this book will also help teens to see things from the parents’ perspective. Many of my readers who have read this book tell me that they have given it to their parents to read.
Q 4. For you, what’s the most unique feature of this story?
Preeti: It will appeal to everyone. Even those who dislike the romance genre will find something they love in this book. It is rich and detailed. You travel with the protagonists to Wayanad, Mattancherry, Jew Town, Derby and Heathrow!
Q 5. Do you have any favorite lines in the book?
Preeti: My favourite lines in the book are spoken in Chaitra’s voice to her husband Krishnan. (Chaitra is Puja’s mom).
She says, ‘Where is the rule book that says mothers have to give up their careers and be there for the kids? Why didn’t you wind up all your businesses and stay at home? Was she my responsibility alone?’
I think these are powerful lines, especially in the Indian context, where the primary responsibility of child-raising falls on the mother.
Q 6. Please share the most interesting bit about writing When Love Came Calling.
Preeti: I lived in the skins of the two characters while writing this book. It was great fun to ‘think like Arush, talk like Arush’ and then immediately in the next chapter, I had to switch to thinking like Puja and talking like her. After a few chapters, I had to switch to Chaitra’s voice. I loved that and it was a great mental exercise for me! My readers too say they find an immediate connection, and they have two distinct voices. That felt very fulfilling to hear.